Teachers and Their Unions Can Mobilize Voters to Win This Election

Duane Campbell    By Duane Campbell

Recent polling reported upon by Jeff Bryant of the Education Opportunity Network   shows that by concentrating on support for public education and public school funding, Democratic Senate candidates in key swing state races could still win this election. These victories would result in keeping control of the U.S. Senate in Democratic hands.

Without a union and voter mobilization in critical states the election could swing the United States Senate to Republican Party control and continue the march to damaging Republican control of state governors’ offices .

Bryant tracts recent in depth polling to argue that the critical difference is how candidates campaign on issues related to public schools.

According to the polling, “The top testing turnout message overall emphasizes education, specifically Republicans’ efforts to cut programs for students while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. This message is the strongest argument for coming out to vote in all of the states except Colorado (where it ranks second, just behind a message focused on how Republicans are working to turn back the clock on women’s rights).”

Taking a strong stance for “education and public schools” was far and away the message that most survey responders found “very convincing.”

See the article here. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/democrats-can-win-with-a-public-education-agenda-by-fighting-to-fund-it/

In those key swing states Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina and more, the Democratic Party candidates have the voters on their side when they stress funding for public schooling.

In some states, such as in the upper Midwest, where low voter turnout in 2010 delivered the states to the Republican governance (Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania), union campaigns targeting low-income voters can focus on reversing the severe austerity of state budgets and the cuts to public schools. Union members, including retirees, can work within their unions to increase voter turnout. Union members in contested states as well as in the South vote more Democratic than their Tea Party-leaning age and gender cohorts among the white working class. (See Levison, The White Working Class Today. 2013)

In 2012, California increased union voter turnout made possible passage of Prop.30 — a tax on the rich to fund schools and social services as well as the defeat of the Koch Brothers financed Prop. 32 attack on unions.

Increased voter turn out with a stress on public education can help the Moral Freedom Summer campaign in North Carolina and similar efforts in Georgia to reverse voter suppression laws and to fund public schooling.

Duane Campbell is a professor emeritus of bilingual multicultural education at California State University Sacramento, a union activist, and former chair of Sacramento DSA. 

5 Responses

  1. Getting more corporate Democrats elected doesn’t constitute “winning.” Business-funded politicians who make empty promises are still business-funded politicians.

  2. But the title of your post is about mobilizing voters to “WIN this election.” And yet you concede my point — the election of corporate Democrats is not, in fact, victory.

    In all honesty, Duane, I see nothing in your perspective which suggests any way out of the trap that keeps working class people voting for, and working for, the “left wing” of those who exploit and oppress us.

    Organized labor has supported the entirety of the Democratic Party for decades. We get less and less out of that support as each year passes. (Obama sure delivered on EFCA, didn’t he?)

    Moreover, when we elect Democratic presidents, there’s no notable difference in their foreign policies from their Republican rivals. The civilian victims of American violence really don’t care if they’re killed by the “lesser evil” or “greater evil.”

    Time for a rethink, perhaps?

  3. And let there be no ambiguity: no, I don’t think that organized labor should devote time and money to getting out the vote for “progressive” business-funded politicians, anywhere, at any time, ever, in any country. I think it is political suicide.

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